The Play of Words: Fun and Games for Language Lovers

The Play of Words: Fun and Games for Language Lovers

When I was growing up, one of the games that my mother used to play with us during long trips was “Word Associations.” She would start the round with a single word and the next person would have to say the first word that sprung to mind. For example, if the first word was “rose,” I might have said “red,” “flower” or “daisy.” The game could press on forever and a string of word associations that started with “rose” could make stops at “Frankenstein” and “toenail” before coming full circle to “rose,” which would end the game. It was an entertaining game, and more often than not, would take some seriously silly twists and turns along the way. And so was born my love of the English language and all the fun that could be had with it.

Word games have since been a favorite of mine, from playing with alliteration to running pun jokes into the ground. Having married a “wordy,” my kids don't stand a chance. Playing with language is a common pastime around our home, in the car and sitting in the dentist's waiting room. Which, when you think about it, makes sense since the English language is so vast, and well, it's all around us every day.

Playing with language keeps us sharp, and helps us to hone our crafts. And, as parents, we enjoy passing on the fun with our kids because it entertains them while teaching them at the same time. For Christmas, I bought my wife a copy of Richard Lederer's book, The Play of Words: Fun and Games for Language Lovers. Over the last week, we've been traveling from one holiday event to another and the word fun hasn't stopped. We've played games with metaphors, logic, cliches and many more, and the kids are enjoying them and participating just as much as we are.

If you've ever said a phrase like “dead as a doornail” and then wondered just exactly where that came from, you're a “wordy,” too. The English language is so interesting, and sometimes bizarre, that is just begs to be enjoyed.